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Lebowsk1
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Top 5 Philosophers
PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

Who are your top 5 favourite philosophers of all time? Here are mine:

5) Stephen Meyer
Who is he?: Cambridge-educated philosopher of science and Vice President of the Discovery Institute thinktank

Why he makes the list: While he may not be as active in actual scientific research as his colleagues in the modern (and misunderstood) 'intelligent design' movement, he's by far the best philosopher of the bunch. His ability to analyse scientific evidence, and the scientific method itself, is second to none. His recent achievement of getting an ID paper through peer review is a great achievement, especially in the charged conditions that surround the issue today. He also took a leading role in 'Unlocking the Mystery of Life', which is probably my favourite documentary of all time.

Link to: the published essay that's caused caused him to be branded a heretic: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?com mand=view&program=CSC& id=2177&callingPage=discoMainPage

4) Alan Watts
Who is he?: Counter-culture icon of the 60's. Started out in life in england as a traditional christian theologian before heading East to study taoist and zen traditions. He then returned West, this time to the US where he lived on his houseboat and died in his sleep in 1973

Why he makes the list: While Meyer, with his monotone, nasal voice works better in tightly constructed written essays, you just simply have to hear Alan Watts speak to get the most out of him. His lectures can come close to a philosophical stand-up comedy routine at times and yet never stray away from the fundamental non-dualistic truth behind Watts' words.

Link to: lectures and essays at http://deoxy.org/watts.html

3) Mr Lif (born Jeffrey Haynes)
Who is he?: Rapper/producer from the boston-based avante guard hip hop crew DEF(initive)JUX(taposition).

Why he makes the list: to those who have cultural biases against rapping as an oratory art, or who are unable to decipher his unusual delivery style, this will not make any sense. But to the underground heads 'in the know' his debut album I, Phantom is an inspired revelation that offers a very relevent and urgent wake-up call humanity needs to hear.

Link to website, which includes interactive game Devolution www.mrlif.com

2) Kitaro Nishida
Who is he?: post-war Japanese philosopher who founded the 'Kyoto school' of philosophy and became professor of philosophy at Kyoto University. Died age 72 of an infection.

Why he makes the list: An Inquiry Into the Good is the most straightforward and confident display of correct metaphysics I've personally ever read.

Link to: page of quotes from 'An Enquiry Into the Good' at http://www.percepp.demon.co.uk/nishida.htm

1) Robert Pirsig
Who is he?: American writer, most known for his philosophical fictionalised account of a road trip he took with his son (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence). Is now living out of the spotlight after turning down film offers for his book.

The sequel 'Lila' expands on his 'Metaphysics of Quality'. The Metaphysics of Quality speaks for itself.

Link to: the first book, available in it's entirety to be read online: http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/Quality/PirsigZen/




Last edited by Lebowsk1 on Sun 20 Nov, 2005; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

I've included some mystics and sages as well, because there's no clear line between them and a philosopher..

1. Lao Tzu

Just read the Tao-te Ching smile

2. Ken Wilber

Manages to combine Western science with Eastern mysticism into an integral approach which surprises in its simplicity and genius. His descriptions of Flatland remains one of the few succesful attempts to expose the knot lying at the heart of the Western scientific view on life.
Two masterpieces: Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and A Brief History of Everything

3. Shunryu Suzuki

Zen Master who tried to convey his wisdom as lucidly as possible but without any attachment being attached to his words, more so than other Zen Masters.
Two masterpieces: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and Not Always So

4. Immanuel Kant

Brilliant philosopher who manages to combine rationalism and empiricism into a synthesis (his transcendental idealism) which vaguely can be associated with Eastern ideas. His three Critiques (Pure Reason, Practical Reason and Judgment) are the Big Three from Wilber (the Beautiful, the True and the Good).

5. Hui-Neng

The sixth Zen Patriarch. His sutra is the only Chinese sutra ever written and perhaps one of the most important sutras of all.


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Jack
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

I dont read much philosophical literature and prefer other genres.But i like authors/books that use philosophy/psychology to make stories deeper, wiser, etc.
But i do remember many philosophers and their main ideas from classes i used to have when i was studying.One that particularly got stuck in my head was I.Kant.Mainly because of his quite famous "categorical imperative"(not sure if thats how it translates) which in my opinion is maybe not too revolutionary or especially bright but for sure helpfull and practical in a global way of thinking.
ps.in short it says "dont do to others what you wouldnt wish was done to yourself".


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MorMor
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

KARL MARX!

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

Here are my top 5, in no particular order.....

1) Lao Tzu - One of the most well known chinese philosophers. He's credited with compiling the Tao te Ching, as mystic pointed out.

2) Carl Gustav Jung - We'll he's not a philosopher officially, but as a psychotherapist he pioneered new ways of thinking and studying how we think as humans. I recommend his book, "Modern Man in Search of a Soul", a collected volume of his most famous essays.

3) Socrates - I like Socrates because he pulled greek philosophy out of the dark and actually made something sensible out of it. He was also responsible for the tutelage of Plato, who then taught Aristotle, who then taught Alexander the Great. So he is a great historical figure as well as a thoughtful philosopher.
He's also credited with the Socratic Dialogue, my favorite was of talking about things

4) Albert Einstein - I consider Albert Einstein a philosopher because of all those little tidbits of knowledge he'd give, apart from his pysics I mean. Phrases like "Imagination is more imprtant then knowledge," always struck a chord with me smile

5) Jimi Hendrix - In an age where everyone either sang about getting stoned, or about surfing or flower power, Jimi wrote songs that were just a little deeper or just a little political, and I think some of the stuff he says makes him a philosopher.


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

Okay, now I'm cheating

If I had a 6) I'd pick Idries Shah, the Sufi teacher who writes all those nice stories about Nasrudin, the foolish Mullah. Those are a source of wisdom if I ever saw one ^^


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sonzaisuru
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PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2005  Reply with quote

In no particular order . . .
-) Jean Paul Sartre. Father of modern existentialism, more or less. "Being and Nothingness" changed my life. As I read it over every couple of years it continues to do the same.
-) John Ralston Saul. Who tries to bring philosophy to a practical Level. And show it effects at a social and cultural level.
-) Umberto Eco. His essays and lectures on Semiotics are fascinating.
-) Bertrand Russel. As long as you accept that he more obviously biggoted than most philosophers he has some very interesting critiques of western philosophy.
-) Lao Tzu. Be he a single man or many, and all the varied writers on Daoism and Zen. Miyamoto Musashi, and the unknown authors of the Diamond sutra and many other eastern gems.


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FJ
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2005  Reply with quote

of late, and I know he's not the sort of philosopher you're looking for, I've been reading John Zerzan. He's a modern primitivist, one that believes we need to return to more natural states of being (ie bye bye ipod and car and chain saws and prisons and agriculture) in order to survive, and perhaps evolve, on this planet.

I've been enjoying reading him as well as another primitivist, Daniel Quinn. Quinn's book, Ishmael, is a fantastic starting place for learning about the mindset of the primitivist.

smile


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dannyviper
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2005  Reply with quote

i really think this question is fun, and i'd like to share the philosopher's/writers i've enjoyed the most. i'm going to list them backwards, like a count down....this is not a static list as it changes all the time....

5) Kahlil Gibran - the great writer of 'The Prophet'. there is much richness in that book, and it really takes you out of your head and you feel like you're reading a bible or something that's really important. when i first read it, it felt like a butterfly landed on my ring finger.

4) C.G.Jung - i'm not saying this because of all the work he did with dreams - which was really great at the time. i'm just amazed at his last book 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' where he has a chapter called 'Confrontation with the Unconscious' - like having a confrontation with 'IT' in waking life. realizing how the mind fills in all the emptiness with all the history and baggage it has.......how can we see anything clearly at all - we can't. you will never see anything new because it is going through years of filters.....yet at the same moment, you can wash that chalk board clean off.....it just takes an amazing amount of energy and focus.........lose the observer....

3) Jean-Paul Sartre - i read a book of his, i forgot the name, but he states the ego is something out there in the world just like another person, or a building, or a dead whale with swing set in her mouth...i take it to be 'i'm in my mind' - not 'my mind is in me'. i guess, once again, letting the ego go. let go of my eggo....

2) J. Krishnamurti - he said 'truth is a pathless land'. And in one moment caused the dissolution of the order of the star. they wanted him to be god, but he saw too much, too soon.
he was always talking about 'seeing'....real reflection, but how many people can do that - really look at themselves, really sit back and say something objective about themselves...we just can't, we listen to friends, we listen to family, anything to give us direction. and not feeling like we choose any direction our self.....

1) Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - he died of cancer.

0) Aleister Crowley - it's funny to me that his first name almost was the same as Easter. maybe it's not quite the same, it doesn't really matter....

he said:

in 'the book of the law':

'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law'. 'Love is the the law, love under will'. 'There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt'.

well, how in the hell could you/I ever follow that? if you are a human being, you will care about your actions for or against others, you will not just do what you want to do, you will have love for everyone. and you will not love things.

when you love all people, you are at peace.

when i realize all the division has been created by me, the division of feeling lost, the divison of feeling hate against others, the divison is me.

with regards,
danny viper


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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

Nobody else here actually read philosophy then?

...

Anyway I like the lists so far, v. interesting. Not sure about Hendrix being there... he's a great artist but I'm not sure any of his albums could be held up as great philosophical works. I put Lif in my list because rap is so lyrics heavy, for example the track 'Iron Helix' is literally a dialogue between spiritualism and materialism.


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

The reason I put Hendrix was because of his political songs, Purple Haze is a good example. He wrote that after a dream he had where was walking along the bottom of the sea, after he got back from his service in Vietnam, to try to summarize the confusion a lot of soldiers were feeling over the war during their tour of duty.
Also he was an advocate for racial equality. He never talked about his music, or politics, or activism, as a black or white issue. He was about all of us being one people, despite everyone's different backgrounds or cultures, which is a great mentality I think smile

So was Mr Lif always a philosophical rapper, or was he mainstream at one point or another, then changed his views and his music?


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Lebowsk1
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

Yeah Lif's been underground since day 1. Never sold out or had the opportunity to. The nature of his material means he wouldnt appeal to the mainstream labels or fans anyway.

But yeah, I guess the line between the mystic, artist and philosopher is a fine one and often one person can straddle the categories. So fair enough. smile


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

Indeed, lots of famous philosophers throughout history have also been artists or some sort. It's a great way for them to spread their message.

I'm surprised more people haven't posted here as well, I thought if we stickied this threat it might attract more attention unsure


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sennomulo
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

They're not all philosophers per se, but these are the thinkers/writers whose ideas have had the most profound influence on my world outlook:
1) Emma Goldman
2) Bertrand Russell
3) George Bernard Shaw
4) Mikhail Bakunin
5) George Orwell


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Shaper
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005  Reply with quote

I like George Orwell smile
Another good author, who I guess would be my number 7 pick, is Aldous Huxley, I really enjoyed 'Brave New World', I found it was a bit like 1984. Both very good very satirical books smile


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